In this edition of the getLISBON invites series, we have the contribution of Carla Cabaça. In Lisbon in Family: Monuments and Museums the author of the project Dias Bons reveals her top recommendations for family visits to Lisbon’s captivating monuments and museums. Get ready to follow her advice and embark on exciting outings during your holidays.
Lisbon is an incredible city for families to discover together. With its abundance of museums and monuments, the city offers a multitude of cultural and historical experiences that will captivate both children and adults.
Visiting monuments and museums as a family is a fun way to learn about the city’s history, and these experiences create lasting memories for everyone involved. This article will introduce you to some of the most surprising monuments and museums in Lisbon that are perfect for exploring with your family.
Lisbon Monuments to Discover with the Family
Have you ever seen a convent without a roof? That’s right! Carmo Convent, located in Chiado, has this unique characteristic, very revealing of the destruction caused by the 1755 earthquake. This alone makes it a must-visit destination in Lisbon for families. Originally established in 1389 by D. Nuno Álvares Pereira, the convent suffered irreparable damage in 1755 but did not lose its beauty and historical significance.
Today, the Convent houses the Carmo Archaeological Museum, where priceless pieces of historical value are on display. It is an interesting museum to explore with your family, as you will encounter numerous original and unique pieces. Among them, you will find an Egyptian sarcophagus and mummy, as well as a collection of pre-Columbian ceramics and mummies. Additionally, the Museum organises guided tours and other family-oriented activities to cultivate an interest in history and art.
The Carmo Convent is located in Largo do Carmo, in Chiado.
Arch of Rua Augusta
Situated in downtown Lisbon, the Arch of Rua Augusta serves as the gateway to Comércio Square and the Tagus River. It is one of Lisbon’s most emblematic monuments and is an ideal destination to explore with your family. As part of the city’s reconstruction efforts following the 1755 earthquake, the Triumphal Arch of Rua Augusta was one of the last structures to be built.
Since 2013 visitors have had the opportunity to ascend to the terrace of the Arch and behold the breathtaking view. Children will love reaching the summit and experiencing Lisbon from a different and thrilling perspective.
Furthermore, an enchanting aspect awaits the entire family: the close proximity to the statues. The sculptures, depicting Glory crowning Genius and Valour, are so close that we can admire the details of their feet, hands and facial expressions. It is a delightful discovery to relish with your loved ones.
Please note that the Arch does not offer full accessibility. While there is an elevator that takes you up to the Clock Room, access to the terrace requires climbing stairs. Families with infants will need to leave their strollers at the elevator entrance and ascend the stairs.
The entrance to the Arch is located at Rua Augusta, 2.
São Jorge Castle
From the top of its hill, São Jorge Castle offers a breathtaking panorama of Lisbon and many historical discoveries! It stands as one of the most beautiful destinations in Lisbon for a family visit, providing an authentic journey through time.
There is a lot to do in São Jorge Castle, such as exploring the walls, visiting the Castle’s Museum, and admiring the view. Additionally, the castle regularly organises various activities tailored for families, offering a delightful opportunity to deepen your understanding of Portugal’s history while having fun. An unforgettable visit!
The entrance to São Jorge Castle can be found in Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo.
Fronteira Palace, situated in Benfica, is a hidden gem in Lisbon. This former summer residence was built during the latest decades of the 1600s, and at almost 400 years old, it remains faithful to its original design. It is a National Monument and one of Lisbon’s most beautiful 17th century buildings.
The palace gardens are a sight to behold and perfect for a family stroll. From the Formal Garden, featuring the Knights Lake and the Kings Gallery, to the Venus Garden and the Woods, you’ll encounter numerous breathtaking surprises. Additionally, guided tours of the palace’s interior are available.
You can find the Fronteira Palace at Largo São Domingos de Benfica, 1.
Museums in Lisbon to Discover with the Family
Ajuda Palace and National Treasure Museum
Ajuda National Palace is the only palace in Lisbon that can be visited and still retains its original 19th-century room decorations. A visit to this royal palace will captivate the entire family, as the various spaces, including the Throne Room, have retained their monarchy-era ambiance.
While exploring Ajuda Palace, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Royal Treasure Museum, one of Lisbon’s newest attractions. Housed in the palace’s west wing, the museum was designed as a vault to safeguard a priceless collection of jewellery pieces from the former Royal House. These pieces are unique in the world and depict important moments in Portugal’s history.
Ajuda Palace and the Royal Treasure Museum are located in Largo da Ajuda.
Electricity Museum and MAAT
If you have an interest in large machinery, then the Electricity Museum in Lisbon is a must-visit place for families, especially those with children. The Tejo Power Station is a remarkable example of early 20th-century industrial architecture. Built in 1908, the plant operated as a thermoelectric power plant until 1972. In the beginning it produced electricity for the entire Lisbon region. From 1951 onward, it served as a backup power plant before being deactivated in 1975.
The museum’s permanent exhibition, the Power Station Circuit, showcases the original machinery in a perfect state of conservation. The exhibition takes visitors through an immersive experience among massive and intricate mechanisms, furnaces, engines, and pipes. Along the tour, you’ll learn about the history of the power plant and the evolution of electricity generation, including the shift towards renewable energy sources. The Electricity Museum is located within the EDP Foundation complex, which also includes MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology). Both buildings host exhibitions and events and are connected by a beautiful garden. Exploring this entire area in Lisbon makes for a great family outing.
The Electricity Museum is located in Avenida Brasília, in Belém.
National Coach Museum
The National Coach Museum showcases a collection of coaches and carriages from the Portuguese Royal House. With its unique collection, it is considered one of the most significant transportation museums globally. This museum is an ideal destination for family visits, as the exhibition offers something fascinating for everyone. The facilities are spacious and well-lit, providing an easy visit, while the coach collection itself is truly impressive.
For a better understanding, interactive stations are placed along the exhibition route, offering illustrated stories of the carriages. These stations are particularly captivating for children, as they showcase the carriages’ involvement in key moments of history. It’s like embarking on a journey through the time of Portugal’s kings!
The Coach Museum is located in Praça Afonso de Albuquerque, in Belém.
These are just a few of the monuments and museums in Lisbon that are perfect for family visits. These spaces narrate captivating stories and inspire discoveries, and are, for sure, good options to learn more about Lisbon.
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She holds a degree in Social Communication from the Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas da Universidade de Lisboa. With experience in the field of written press, she is currently dedicated to the Dias Bons project, a blog that explores Lisbon and the joy of discovering the city with family. As an eternal learner and a curious individual, Carla is passionate about books and travelling. She finds great delight in wandering through the streets of Lisbon, camera in hand, capturing the essence of the city.